I never liked to use the word ‘perfect’ when talking about our wedding because it’s such a loaded word. There was enough pressure planning a wedding, I didn’t want to add more by striving for perfection. As I began writing this post, I noticed that the word ‘perfect’ kept popping into my head when I thought about our venue. I guess there’s no other way to describe it.
From the moment we stepped foot into Tower Hill, we loved it. When we walked across its charming patio and through the cosy, warm entrance on a cold and grey day in November 2017, I immediately thought to myself ‘could this be the one?’. We were welcomed inside by the one and only Jo, whose gorgeous bright and friendly face put us at ease immediately. For the first time since venue hunting, I felt that we could actually have a wedding venue that somehow felt like home. Being so close to a main road, we worried that it may not be private enough, but the layout of the venue meant that it was completely nestled away in its own grounds, surrounded by greenery, open land and wildlife. What struck us is that once you’re in, you wouldn’t even know there’s a road behind it, as it’s so tranquil and scenic. With a private outdoor ceremony area, an outside bar, a large patio with fire-pit and copious amounts of flowers and greenery, we were in awe as we toured it for the first time.
Choosing a wedding venue can actually be quite difficult. It can be overwhelming and tiring, especially as an indecisive over-thinker. At every venue we visited, I found myself wondering whether I could see us here on such an important day. Would our friends and family like it? Is it welcoming and relaxed? Is the vibe what we want? After hearing the same spiel over and over again at each venue about what sets them apart from the rest, I felt like I just wanted to go home, drown in wine, and escape the wedding-sphere. I didn’t get that feeling (or spiel) from Tower Hill, and we didn’t need it; the venue spoke for itself. From our very first visit, it became evident that this was a different kind of place. The relaxed, comforting and homely vibe was exactly what we were looking for.
Having visited only venues in Spain at that point (our original plan was to get married in Seville, where I used to live), this was the first UK venue we found. We felt as though we should look at some others, even though really, we were smitten. It did help to go and see other venues because we realised that the bar had now been set, and we compared them all to Tower Hill. There was one other contender – Styal Lodge – which was also beautiful, but when it came down to it Tower Hill just had that extra special touch. The Spanish may call it duende, or as Merriam-Webster defines it: ‘the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm’.
Lead up to the wedding
During the 18 months of planning, nothing was too much trouble. Every time I emailed with questions, it was met with ‘please don’t worry, it’s what we’re here for’. Jo was the face of Tower Hill for us in the first few months, and although she changed roles, I had secretly hoped she might be there on our wedding day. In the months leading up to the wedding, Dominique was appointed our new coordinator, and she, too, was nothing short of amazing. She was helpful, amazingly efficient and so dedicated to making our day perfect. During the planning process, we had contact with the chefs, bar staff, waiting on staff, cleaners, coordinators, owners and even the family doggos, and everyone treated us with such warmth and love, we honestly felt like part of the family. What’s special about Tower Hill is that the entire team work so effortlessly together, using their expertise and experience to curate not only the perfect day, but the most streamlined wedding planning experience. Any blips or concerns we ran into were quickly ironed out with ease.
Complimentary food tasting
When we found out about the complimentary food tasting, we asked if we could pay for additional guests and bring our parents, who were heavily involved in the planning process, with us. We were gently advised that they allow couples only, as at that point of planning, couples benefit from some much needed ‘together time’. They were spot on! Valuable ‘us’ time was so needed at the time of our tasting. We took the opportunity to stay over in Llangollen for the night, in a beautiful place called the Cowshed at Sunbank Accommodation. As you may have seen in the post Intention to Marry, we had the ultimate wedding ‘us’ day and spent the day purchasing our rings, having lunch together and giving our intention to marry. This was followed by a drive to Wales and a wonderful evening in our venue, being treated to delicious food, wine and cocktails. It was one of my favourite days of the whole experience.
On our wedding morning, my bridal party and I were welcomed by Jo, who was there on our wedding day after all, and it felt like we’d come full circle. When we arrived she gave me a humongous hug, and expressed how she couldn’t believe the day was finally here. Due to us getting married on a Saturday, there was a wedding the day before, meaning that we couldn’t set up and decorate until the morning of the wedding. When I told people this in the months leading up to the wedding, I often received horrified responses and the concern that we wouldn’t be able to decorate an entire venue in time. At times I worried that it would be too much and too stressful on my wedding morning, but I had everything planned and prepared in advance, and I had the dream team of bridesmaids, a Mum on a mission and amazing staff to help. Everybody worked so hard, quickly and calmly to make sure that we were set up and ready to go in time, and there was a real buzz in the air!
My bridesmaids and I got ready in the beautiful preparation room upstairs in the venue, whilst my Mum chose the luxury of the other make up room on site (as Mother of the Bride, her emotions were high and she needed space to prepare before joining us in the main room!). Both rooms were stunning, and so cozy and spacious. We had visits all morning from all of the coordinators, checking we were OK and whether we needed anything. There was a bottle of fizz waiting for us in the fridge when we got there, as well as tea and coffee facilities, which came in handy. Our photographer (Clare Robinson), who decided it was best to not have champagne on the job, was thrilled at the prospect of a brew whilst she sat with us snapping away. From the positioning of the preparation room, I could sneakily look out of the window and watch our guests starting to arrive – and that was the moment when everything started to feel very real.
All we wanted was to get married outside (and bonus points if the cows were in the field next to us!). In the two weeks leading up to the wedding, we had what felt like the heaviest rainfall in decades. We made our peace with the indoor ceremony location, expecting that it would be in there. Planning an outdoor wedding in the UK is always a gamble, and we knew that when we booked. On the morning of the wedding, every single staff member was rooting for us and willing the rain to stop. The frequent updates on what was going on outside the room – ‘there’s blue sky!’, ‘it’s stopped raining!’, ‘the weather’s looking good!’ were so exciting. They calmed my nerves and built up the giddiness, especially with the most important update that ‘your groom has arrived!’. It felt like they were more part of our bridal party than staff, their smiling faces and positivity was exactly what we needed, especially as the nerves started to kick in! For those who don’t know, we did get married outside (!) and the cows were in the field next to us (!!) and there’ll be more about that in a separate post!
I was naive enough to think that because of the meticulous planning that had gone into our day, nothing would go wrong for us. When things did go wrong, Tower Hill staff were there. As we were about to walk down the aisle, there was an unforeseen technical glitch with the music. The coordinators had already sound checked that morning and all was OK, but it’s thought that a guest’s Bluetooth interfered with the sound system at last minute. The staff were straight on it. I was ready to walk down without music as I was worried about keeping everybody waiting, but they assured me that was not going to happen and they’d fix it – which they did, extremely quickly! One of my favourite moments of the day was having all the coordinators who we’d been fortunate enough to meet over the last 18 months stood waiting to send my bridal party off, as well as to congratulate us, our ‘Mr and Mrs Holt’ signature cocktails in hand, when we reappeared as husband and wife.
‘Day of’ coordination
Throughout the day, we didn’t have to think about a single thing. The tech glitch meant we were running a bit behind and halfway through photos, I remembered about the timeline I had so painstakingly created leading up to the big day. I panicked as I realised we were going to be late for the wedding breakfast, and we were already pushed for time as it was. Our photographer told us that Dom had already liaised with her, and pushed everything back half an hour whilst we got through our photos! She was the definition of ‘on it’! We were treated all day with people giving us drinks, but on the one occasion that James did go to the bar, Dom dropped everything she was doing and came straight to James to see what he needed. We felt like royalty!
In all honesty, I could barely eat on the day due to the overwhelming nature of it all, but I did manage bits and it was all delicious. The cocktails were amazing and I just wish I could have eaten more canapés because everybody told me how delicious they were. The staff did come to us first, before anybody else, with our canapés and signature cocktails made just for us (I told you – royalty!), but I just couldn’t manage the food. So many people came to us on the day to tell us how beautiful the food was, how perfect our menu was, and some people even said it was the best wedding food they’d ever had!
When the night came, it was the party I had dreamed that it would be. People were dancing before the night had even started due to our fabulous DJ (more on the other vendors in a separate post!), and it was so much fun. Last orders was 12.30am and kick out was 1am, but inevitably there were (very drunk) stragglers, and in hindsight we were definitely those people who drunkenly just don’t leave. The place was absolutely filthy, and I felt so sorry that we’d made such a mess, which was only now visible with the lights on. However, I was reassured that they have seen worse, and not once were we pushed to leave or hurried along, despite it being so late. They didn’t make us feel uncomfortable, and actually reassured us that we were fine to still be there, whilst they cleaned around us. We stayed on site in the beautiful farm house, and the next morning when we went back into the venue it was like it had all been a dream. It was as though there had been no carnage at all, the place had been immaculately cleaned. It was both relieving and poignant seeing our beautiful venue back to its usual pristine condition, as though our wedding hadn’t even happened.
The morning after the wedding, we were treated to a full continental and English/Welsh breakfast with all the trimmings, in the farmhouse. Our bridesmaids staying in the (amazing) glamping lodges received a ‘pack up’ style breakfast, complete with hot sandwiches, orange juice and fruit. It was absolutely beautiful, so well thought out, and definitely sorted out a few tired heads! It was so wonderful to sit around with our two families enjoying breakfast together, and the food was so incredibly tasty! Before we (reluctantly) left, the owner came and gifted us with a bottle of champagne and a card, which was yet another beautiful and thoughtful touch.
When people ask me about my wedding blues, I think to myself ‘what am I most sad about?’. I don’t have to think long, because I know it’s the fact that I no longer have an excuse to continue visiting our beautiful venue. I have loved spending time there over the last 18 months. We’ve seen the venue in all its glory, in each and every season and it’s always been beautiful; I feel so sad to no longer spend time there. Every time we visited I felt such peace, happiness and gratitude that we were going to be married in such an incredibly wonderful place. In hindsight, we had known all along that it was the venue for us.
If you are reading this, hunting for a venue and within a travellable distance, do consider Tower Hill for your big day. It may not be the cheapest, but it’s by no means the most expensive either. And every penny spent was entirely worth it. It was approximately an hour and and a half from where we live, and every single one of our guests had to travel. Almost everybody treated it as a weekend away in a beautiful part of the world. We will never be able to thank the Tower Hill staff enough for giving us the most beautiful day, a truly memorable wedding and a beautiful backdrop for our photographs, which we will cherish forever. I only wish that every bride and groom could experience the outstanding hospitality of Tower Hill on their wedding day, and feel as special on their day, as they made us feel on ours. Thank you Tower Hill, from the bottom of our hearts x